Title: Replacement
Rating: G
Genre: Angst
Pairings: NoraxKazuma implied
Warnings: Alternate ending to the manga
Hundreds of years, and still, it hadn't lessened. Still, something was missing from him, and this stranger, this new Cerberus, wasn't going to replace it.
Disclaimer: Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom isn't mine either.

Kazuma had done everything he could for the last several hundred years to avoid thinking about his future, particularly the ritual that would give him his successor.

The generals tried to reason with him many times in the recent couple centuries. The Cerberus needs training! You are the one who is supposed to train him!

He refused. He had refused to go see the child the day it was born. He had refused to have anything to do with the young Cerberus as he grew up. And now he ignored the generals' pleas to train him, and spent more time than ever in his private wooded area off the training field. Nobody ever dared go there to see what he spent so much time doing.

The previous Dark Liege knew I was stubborn when she chose me, he thought, feeling no shame for his unwillingness. The generals are fools if they thought I'd grow out of that and bend to their whims.

They did, at least, seem to understand that his mind would not be changed, and didn't bring the matter up for another several decades. Until finally, one day, the commander-general came to him and said, "The Cerberus is old enough to be sent to the human world for training. The least you can do is take a measure of the strength we've managed to give him training him ourselves, to select a suitable partner."

"Later," Kazuma said.

"We need an answer now. He is here and awaiting your instructions."

His head shot up. "Do not bring that child in here," he snarled, but it was too late. A silver-haired teenager stood in the doorway, with one red eye and one yellow eye, and a black and silver collar around his neck.

For a moment he rose to his feet and began to reach out, the word Strayghosting over his lips, before the boy looked at him and simply stared in awe.

The expression of silent worship broke something inside him. It was wrong, it was all wrong

He would never have looked at him that way. He would have called him Old Bastard to his face and laughed, with fire in his eyes and a cocky grin upon his lips.

Kazuma turned away.

Nora was gone. He had watched him die. And as tradition had decreed, a new Cerberus had been born to take his place. The same eyes, same tufted hair, even the same stocky body, but that wasn't his stray's soul inside the shell.

The generals called after him, but he kept walking, past the boy. Straight to the training field, straight to his private corner, straight to where a stone marker sat at the foot of a tree and collapsed to his knees. He gripped the ground under him, until his fingers went numb and his knuckles turned white, and still didn't let go.

Teardrops dripped down upon the stone, speckling the four letters upon it with dark spots.

Hundreds of years, and still, it hadn't lessened. Still, something was missing from him, and this stranger, this new Cerberus, wasn't going to replace it.

Nothing was ever going to replace him.

X - X - X

Notes: Okay, so I'm glad it didn't have THIS ending, but I was rather unhappy with the canon ending. So I had to angst it up.